19 Best Podcasts Perfect for Seniors, Baby Boomers, and the Older Generation
In a world where there are over half a million podcasts to choose from, it can be tough to find one that’s particularly interesting to the older generation.
In many cases, podcasts can be entertaining and insightful for people of all ages, but there are quite a few that are geared towards millenials, or the younger generation (also known as Generation Y).
We’ve sifted through some of the most popular podcasts (and some of our personal favorites) to bring you the 19 best podcasts for seniors.
But first – in case you aren’t familiar with podcasts, here are a few tips to get you started.
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What is a podcast?
A podcast is an online show, similar to a radio show, that’s available at all times. A podcast is audio only – no video. You can listen to a podcast as soon as it’s available, or you can listen to it 5 years later. There are podcasts in all genres, from politics to sports to culture to comedy to everything in between.
Typically, podcasts are structured like a typical radio show – there is a host, and that host often interviews people about a specific subject. By the end of a podcast, you generally achieve one of the following:
- Entertainment value
- Valuable insights
- Education about something
- A good laugh
A typical podcast is about 30 minutes in length, though there are shows that go for an hour and shows that only go for 15 minutes.
How do you find and listen to podcasts?
There are different places you can go to listen to podcasts. We’ve tested many of them out, and our favorite so far is Stitcher.
You can find any of the podcasts mentioned in this article on stitcher.com, or you can download the Stitcher app on your smartphone.
Stitcher is free to use, though there is a premium option where you can pay to avoid ads.
While Stitcher is our recommendation, you can also check out any of the following options for your podcasting needs:
- Apple Podcast
- Podcast Addict
- Pocket Casts
- Google Play Music
19 Best Podcasts for Seniors
Let’s get into it! Please note that these podcasts aren’t specifically geared for seniors – almost all of these podcasts would be interesting for people of all ages. We just think they’re great podcasts, and we think you’d enjoy them.
Podcast #1: Stuff You Should Know
You would like this if: You’re interested in common things and how they work.
This is one of those podcasts where one day, you could learn about knife throwing, and the next day, you could learn about hoarding. Or hang gliding. Or removing public monuments. Or ice cream or marijuana or jet lag.
It’s always a surprise, and hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant dutifully get to the bottom of really odd questions.
Some reviews of the podcast boast that it’s highly entertaining while still being informative and that the charisma of Josh and Chuck make the show what is is – a pleasure to listen to.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: How Junk Food Works
In this episode, Josh and Chuck uncover how and why junk food is so irresistible – and that companies spend tens of millions engineering it to be that way. Cheetos will never taste the same. You also may never buy Lunchables for your grandkids again. You’ve been warned.
Podcast #2: Planet Money
You would like this if: You’re interested in money, economics, and the value of things.
When a podcast has over 800 episodes, you know they’re doing something right. Many of the podcasts on this list are produced by NPR, which makes them not only familiar, but the quality of the production is very high.
Fans of the podcast like the show, because the producers make economics easy to understand. Even if you have no background in the subject, you can always walk away with some practical knowledge about money.
In Episode #826, you can learn if top shelf vodka is any different from the cheap stuff. In Episode #792, the hosts talk about ransoms – if someone is kidnapped, and you pay the ransom, you create a market for hostages. If you don’t, people could die. And in Episode #273, we travel back to 1835 to learn what it would be like to have a country with no national debt.
The show is constantly discussing interesting and relevant topics, and nothing ever gets too technical.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: #496 Where the Planet Money T-Shirt Began
Everyone owns a t-shirt, right? Have you ever wondered where the cotton in your exact t-shirt came from? The hosts of Planet Money decided to have a t-shirt made from scratch, and they followed the process every step of the way. The first step towards finding the cotton farm? A trip halfway around the world.
Podcast #3: Criminal
You would like this if: You’re interested in true crime and crime stories.
When you see a crime headline in the news, it can feel a bit distant. But what if you could hear the story from those directly affected by the crime? What if you could hear the perspective of the accused?
Criminal, a member of Radiotopia (from PRX), is a podcast about crime. What happens when a man uses a “how to kill” manual to actually kill someone? And what happens when a man is sentenced to life in prison based on “junk evidence?” And what was life like in the 60s for a group of individuals that helped women obtain illegal abortions?
Criminal draws you in with questions such as these, and each episode will have you completely mesmerized – and perhaps slightly on edge.
Lovers of the podcast rave about the high quality production – a telltale sign that the podcast is a PRX show. Another great part about the show is that every story is real – the people being interviewed are those who were directly involved with the crime in some way or another.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: The Editor
A man sentenced to 16 years in prison decided to pass his time by reading. It wasn’t long before he was able to catch a typo in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. He wrote a letter to the editor explaining the misprint, and what happens next… well, you’ll just have to listen.
Podcast #4: This American Life
You would like this if: You’re interested in society & culture.
Another NPR favorite is This American Life, a podcast that offers funny, touching, and unique vignettes about everyday life in America.
This podcast is actually rated the #1 podcast on all of Stitcher, with over 2.5 million people downloading the podcast each week. The show is hosted by Ira Glass.
Listeners of the show are loyal, with many boasting over 10 years of dutiful listening, and what’s most notable about this show is the variety. Some shows will break your heart, others will have you laughing, and others will leave you sitting in silence – speechless.
This is one of those podcasts you’ll want to share with your family and friends every time you experience it. One reviewer of the podcast explains:
“This show is always hard to explain to people who've never heard it before. I usually say it's about just what the title says: American Life. Beyond that I explain that there are very diverse topics tied together by a theme for the week. If you've never listened before give it about three tries. Some shows are better than others (or just more interesting to me), but I've never gone more than three weeks without finding something really interesting.”
The episode that’ll get you hooked: Anatomy of Doubt
This episode is a 2016 Peabody Award-winner. The story is about doubt: how it germinated, spread, and eventually took hold of an entire community, with terrible consequences.
Podcast #5: Ask Me Another
You would like this if: You love trivia and game shows.
Do you love trivia night? Join host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton for a show full of games, puzzles, and music – all in front of a live audience.
The show is a lot of fun, and you’ll find yourself playing along. One reviewer of the show says that it has the feel of Jeopardy, but a little bit more interesting and entertaining. “They always change the game style to keep it interesting. One time the answers may be in palindromes next they may require you to sing the answer to the tune of a popular song.”
Many listeners enjoy the show as an alternative to Peter Sagal’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
The episode that’ll get you hooked: We can’t lie… all of them are equally fun! Start with the latest episode and go from there.
Podcast #6: 99% Invisible.
You would like this if: You’re interested in design – not only architecture and graphic design, but the design of everyday life.
99% Invisible is about all of the design that goes into our world – and what’s fascinating is that most of it goes unnoticed. For example, have you ever wondered about the origin of the fortune cookie? What about why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch instead of an armchair? What about gerrymandering and how there’s no one-size-fits-all design solution for drawing fair districts?
The show is constantly going beyond architecture, and it’s digging into stories of design that will shock and awe you. This is one of the podcasts where each episode seems to become more interesting.
Fans of the show say that each episode is obscure, yet fascinating – that the topics of the show are often subjects that you’d never hear or learn about otherwise.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: Thankfully for us, the staff at 99% Invisible has curated a list of episodes that they recommend for new listeners. At the top of the list is Episode 288: Guerrilla Public Service Redux. In this episode, you’ll learn about an artist who took it upon himself to add an overhead sign on the 110 freeway.
Podcast #7: How I Built This With Guy Raz
You would like this if: You’re interested in business and how companies were started.
Have you ever wondered how successful companies were actually started? How much money was raised? How was the business plan created – was there a business plan? Where did the idea come from?
In How I Built This With Guy Raz, host Guy Raz dives into some of the world’s best known companies and tells the stories of how they were formed. For example, have you ever wondered how Dyson, The Home Depot, or Southwest Airlines originated? (Us too!)
Not only are these stories fascinating, but they’re inspiring. When you’re done listening, you’ll wonder why you never gave that genius business idea a chance.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: Dell Computers: Michael Dell
How did Dell Computers begin? In this episode, we learn how in 1983, Michael Dell started selling upgrade kits for PCs out of his dorm. The rest of the story will explain how that small endeavor morphed into over 650 million sold computers.
Podcast #8: Radiolab
You would like this if: You’re a naturally curious person with interests in science, philosophy, and the human experience.
Radiolab is one of those podcasts that’s sort of hard to explain, so I’ll defer to Radiolab’s own description. On their website, they say that Radiolab is a show about curiosity.
“Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”
Recent episodes cover topics such as border patrol, the second amendment, the origins of football, the act of heroism, and so much more.
The podcast is a radio show first and foremost, so you may have heard the show on NPR. If you ever miss an episode or want to catch up, check out their podcast episodes.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: Colors
This episode was voted as most memorable by Radiolab listeners across the world, so it had to make the cut as the episode that’ll get you hooked. The episode unpacks everything about color – to what extent is color a physical thing in our world? To what extent is it created in our minds? We see colors everyday, but have you ever taken the time to unpack what it means?
Podcast #9: Stuff You Missed In History Class
You would like this if: You’re interested in history.
Have you always been fascinated by history – even just a little bit? If you have, odds are you’ll be delighted by this gem of a show. You won’t be getting the popular stories here; instead, you’ll get the stories that are often left out of the history books.
For example, the most recent episode (as of this writing) tells the story of a female journalist in the late 1900s – Nelly Bly. Nelly was America’s original stunt journalist, and her story is downright fascinating. The episode begins with Nelly pretending to be insane so that she could write about what it’s like inside a mental institution.
Other stories cover paleontology, the Johnstown flood, the Halifax Explosion, and more.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: Civil War Spies: Allan Pinkerton
Since we’re in Illinois, we had to choose Allan Pinkerton as our episode that’ll get you hooked. Allan fell into detective work when he discovered a gang of counterfeiters in Illinois. In 1861, he helped thwart a plot to assassinate Lincoln, which may have led Lincoln to later tap Pinkerton to organize the first Union espionage. The story is truly fascinating, and it adds another layer of interest to a story you may have never heard before.
Podcast #10: Ear Hustle
You would like this if: You’re interested in what happens inside a prison.
Life inside prison may not be how it seems. Earlonne Woods, an inmate at San Quentin State Printon, and Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist work together to produce Ear Hustle.
Fair warning: there is language in this podcast, so if you’re sensitive to that, you may skip this recommendation.
In this podcast, you hear from prisoners about life inside prison – what is solitary confinement like, and what does it do to your brain? How do you actually leave prison? What’s it like to deal with aging and death while in prison?
The show is fascinating, but it also adds a strong sense of humanity to a group of people that we often look over completely.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: The SHU
What would life be like if you spent decades in a small, white, square box with zero human interaction? Hear from four men who spent years by themselves in what is called “the shu.”
Podcast #11: Freakonomics Radio
You would like this if: You’re interested in socioeconomics.
Host Stephen J. Dubner makes the riddles of everyday life fascinating. The show has over 8 million downloads per month if that sheds some light on how popular and entertaining this podcast is.
Reviewers of the show say that they’ve learned more about society and the world from this show than they did in all their years of school.
Another reviewer loves that you don’t have to be an expert in economics to understand the show. The individual writes, “The shows are designed such that you never need to know anything very advanced and they steer away from using lingo without defining it which is a great plus point.”
Examples of topics recently covered on the podcast include an interview with the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, an explanation for why your projects are always late, and a look at the Year of the Dragon, a Chinese folk belief, and why it could be responsible for a spike in births among certain communities across the globe.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset?
An episode that’s all too perfect for our blog is the problem with end-of-life healthcare. It’s expensive, and as a nation, we spend billions on it. This episode explores the following question: What if a patient could forgo the standard treatment and get a cash rebate instead?
Podcast #12: Car Talk
You would like this if: You’re interested in comedy (and cars).
We know you’re familiar with Car Talk. It’s been around for seemingly forever. Two funny guys helping average Americans figure out their car woes.
Even if you have no interest in auto mechanics, this show is full of wisecracks and hilarious callers – you’ll be entertained for a full hour straight.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: Dad, How Could You?
This is actually the most recent episode (as of this posting), and the hosts are exploring The Best of Car Talk. In this episode, Linda is suffering from acute separation anxiety after her dad sold the family’s beloved Rambler. Find out if Linda gets closure and so much more.
Podcast #13: The Moth
You would like this if: You’re interested in the lives of everyday people.
The Moth’s format is very similar to Ted Talks – if you’ve never seen a Ted Talk, it’s a presentation given in a front of a crowd of people by someone who’s profoundly inspiring.
The main difference, besides the different speakers and their stories, is that The Moth is audio-only in its podcast form. In some ways, this causes us to listen more closely.
The Moth is also a not-for-profit organization, and their mission is to spread the art and craft of storytelling. Most of the shows have to do with human and social experiences, though the stories are always unique and unpredictable.
Reviewers of the podcast call it funny, cute, touching, and even shocking at times. “I only wish the weekly cast was longer,” writes one fan.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: The Curse
Dame Wilson believes she’s cursed, so she decides to try to lift the curse herself. The story is both hilarious and thrilling. As you listen, you get this feeling that there will be a massive twist coming, but you have no idea what it might be.
Podcast #14: The Mike Lupica Podcast
You would like this if: You’re interested in sports and politics.
If you’re a sports reader, you’re probably familiar with Michael Lupica, a newspaper columnist who writes about sports in a somewhat provocative way. He’s often featured in the New York Daily News and on ESPN.
In his podcast, Mike brings his own experience as well as the insights of “insiders” to take a look at professional sports and the politics that comes with them.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: In the Loop – Episode 71
The most recent podcast (as of this writing) is exciting to listen to if you’re interested in the current world of sports. Join the discussion about the Masters, reflections on the Final Four, and more.
Podcast #15: The Allusionist
You would like this if: You’re interested in language and how we choose and use certain words in everyday life.
Ever wondered where certain slang terms come from? What about the difference between USA English and UK English? Helen Zaltzman dives in and brings us thorough explanations for it all – or at least some discussion on the subject.
If you have any interest in language, you’ll find this podcast a delight.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: In Your Hand
Can handwriting really tell you about the writer? Find out in this episode of The Allusionist, where Helen uncovers all the details of handwriting analysis.
Podcast #16: Science Friday
You would like this if: You’re interested in science.
Science Friday, as heard on PRI, is always bringing something new to the discussion table, whether it be about science, technology, health, or the environment.
Ira Flatow, the host, interviews scientists, authors, and policymakers, and listeners will often call in and ask their own questions.
This podcast truly feels like a discussion that you can participate in, and with topics like animal farts and the relation between cell phones and cancer, how could you not be at least a little bit interested?
The episode that’ll get you hooked: Undersea Volcanoes, Flu, Sleep Apps
It’s hard to choose an episode that’ll get you hooked, because they’re all so varied and interesting, but this one brings forth two really interesting topics: undersea volcanoes, which we don’t know very much about, and sleep apps – do they really work?
Podcast #17: Conspiracy Theories
You would like this if: You’re interested in... conspiracy theories!
Even if you think conspiracy theories are a bunch of bologna, the stories behind them are fascinating. You’ll learn from the skeptical, yet very sane hosts about where the theories came from and why they’re widely believed (or not).
At the end of each explanation, the hosts will also give you a rating on how plausible the theory actually is.
The description of the show explains this pretty well: “Conspiracy? Maybe. Coincidence? Maybe. Complicated? Absolutely.”
The episode that’ll get you hooked: Area 51
Area 51 is so secretive that it’s bound to be the subject of many a conspiracy theory. This episode delves into some of our more curious questions: why was Area 51 founded? And why do so many people believe that aliens have something to do with it?
Podcast #18: Dirty John
You would like this if: You’re interested in hearing a full, true, and complex story about love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and survival.
Reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times, this podcast feels less like a podcast and more like an intense audiobook.
You will be taken through 6 captivating episodes that make up the complete story of Debra Newell and John Meehan, a seemingly great guy that turns out to be rotten underneath.
The series of events that happen throughout the course of this very real story will have you scrambling to press play on the next episode.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: The Real Thing | 1
It’s only natural to start at the beginning, where Debra meets John on an over-50 dating site.
Podcast #19: The Art of Charm
You would like this if: You’re interested in self-improvement.
If you’re retired, you may not be that interested in this particular podcast as it’s largely directed at working individuals. However, the podcasts are interesting no matter your stage of life.
The 600+ episodes cover topics about social science, behavioral economics, and cognitive psychology, and while that may sound like a drag, the hosts make it fun and easy to understand.
Recent episodes cover the minimalist movement, body language, and masculinity.
The show promises to leave you as a higher performer, a better networker, a deeper connecter, and most importantly, a better thinker.
The episode that’ll get you hooked: 320: Conscious Listening, How & Why
Listening – sounds easy, but in reality, it doesn’t come naturally. If you ever find yourself thinking about the next thing you plan on saying rather than listening to the person across from you, this is the podcast episode for you.
Which podcast sounds the most interesting to you? Tell us in the comments below!
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